Small Christian Communities

One of the first things that Christ did in his public ministry was gather a community around him. He left his followers with the presence of the Spirit and the gift of companionship. The early church embodied these gifts by meeting in small communities.

Small Christian communities stem from and return to the Sunday Eucharist. Meeting in small Christian communities enfleshes the cycle that should be part of our lives as Catholic Christians: the constant process of gathering as a community, hearing anew the Word of God as chastisement, challenge and commendation, taking up again our identity as the unified Body of Christ, and going forth to continue to live that which we have just experienced. As such, small communities foster mature faith, form lay leaders, and encourage active participation in the broader life of the Church. Small communities enable people to grow in their relationship with Christ. Within a climate of trust, participants read Scriptures, share faith, pray and support one another in their faith journey.

What is a Small Christian Community?
"A small Christian community is a face-to-face gathering of six to twelve people who invest time with one another for the common purpose of applying gospel values to every aspect of their lives."
Small Christian Communities: A Vision of Hope for the 21st Century
From RENEW International

The Vision: The Parish as a Community of Many Small Communities
"One way of renewing parishes, especially urgent for parishes in large cities, might be to consider the parish as a community of communities and movements.

"It seems timely therefore to form ecclesial communities and groups of a size that allows for true human relationships. This will make it possible to live communion more intensely, ensuring that it is fostered not only ad intra, but also with the parish communities to which such groups belong and with the entire diocesan and universal church.

"In such a human context it will be easier to gather to hear the word of God, to reflect on the range of human problems in the light of this word and gradually to make responsible decisions inspired by the all-embracing love of Christ."
Pope John Paul II "The Church in America", January 22, 1999